A nonagenarian, Alhaji Ibrahim Lawal, said the ease with which he cast his vote during the presidential and national assembly election, brought back to him a nostalgic feeling of the distant past.
Lawal, aged 93 and a Yoruba community leader in Kaduna, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday that he started exercising his franchise as a voter in 1953, at the age of 23.
He recounted that at that time, voting political leaders was done with ease, devoid of economic and sentimental manipulations, but rather based on the collective interest of all.
He lamented that as the years passed by and Nigerians began to claim to be ‘more civilised’, they began to attach religious and tribal sentiments in all their affairs, including decisions on who should lead them.
“We should love ourselves; if God had wished, He would have created all of us as Muslims or Christians.
“I can vividly recollect when the then Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, visited Jos during his days, he exhibited a sense of oneness of the people.
“In spite of Jos being a predominantly Christian community, he gathered the people and told them in Hausa language, ‘my relatives, come and let’s all eat food together’.
“During his days as Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, a Christian, was so much admired by Muslims in the North,” he recounted.
He, therefore, called on citizens to remain one, irrespective of their tribal, religious or political affiliation.
Expressing his satisfaction with the conduct of the elections, the nonagenarian said voting was devoid of thuggery, hullabaloo, and tension associated with similar exercises in the past.
He attributed this positive development to the use of Bio-modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), to ease and facilitate voting proceedings.
He also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security operatives for providing the enabling environment, while urging the electoral body to make amends where necessary. (NAN)